Political Notebook

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California group endorses Mourdock

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock has picked up another tea party endorsement in his campaign to unseat Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

The California-based Tea Party Express on Thursday endorsed Mourdock in the 2012 Republican primary election. Its backing comes five days after a coalition of 55 tea party groups in Indiana chose Mourdock over Lugar in a straw poll by a 96-1 vote.

Amy Kremer, chairwoman of Tea Party Express, said in a statement that Mourdock is “a principled conservative with an impressive record of fighting for Constitutionally limited government.” In the same statement, she said Lugar has “tracked increasingly to the left” in his Senate votes.

“For far too long, Senator Lugar has compromised the basic principles of fiscal responsibility that the TEA Party represents,” Kremer said.

Mourdock called the endorsement “a reflection of the momentum and strength our campaign continues to gain on a daily basis.”

The Tea Party Express said it will buy TV and radio advertising in support of Mourdock and help coordinate local tea party organizers. The group's work was considered a major factor in the nomination of at least four tea party Senate candidates in the 2010 primaries.

A day earlier, Lugar issued an email to his supporters and the media in which he said, “There is a lot of misinformation about my voting record, and a lot of it is coming from outside the state of Indiana.”

“I have consistently voted for less spending and lower taxes. And I have consistently opposed the Obama approach of massive government spending, regulatory overreach, federalized central control and the redistribution of wealth by restricting wealth.”

He listed legislation backed by President Obama that he has opposed, including the health care law, the financial regulations law and bills affecting energy and labor.

The Tea Party Express specifically criticized Lugar for voting for bailouts of banks and against a ban on earmarks, or federally funded projects in lawmakers' home states and districts.

Also running for Lugar’s Senate seat are Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, and Libertarian Andrew Horning.

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